One of the icons which helped to inspire the Revolutionary Underground was that of the Oceanean Naval Ship (ONS) Octavia, a frigate whose entire crew mutinied in favour of democratic reforms while patrolling off the coast near Portri on 9 November 1988 and spent nearly 22 years sailing the oceans in exile. The ship and its voyages became known as the 'Exulo Transnavare' (I am exiled across the sea). During this exile, the ship's crew sought to continue to promote democratic reform, not least in how they governed themselves and through writing political tracts. They finally returned to Oceana during the Revolution which removed King Tiervan from power.
The early years (1988-1999)Edit
The rebellion began in response to the latest in a series of incidents which had convinced both crew and officers that the existing system needed reform. The harsh punishment of a sailor, being beaten by a visiting government official for the crime of expressing sympathy for the victims of 'Bloody Sunday', triggered a mutiny. After a lengthy debate between members of the crew, the official was put off the ship in a lifeboat filled with rotten fish, along with 2 officers who refused to support the mutineers. A further debate established the primary mission of the ship as to encourage democratic reforms in Oceana, providing a floating example of how such a democracy could work, writing pro-reform literature to promote their ideas which they would then try to get delivered to the people.
The ship was officially declared by King Tiervan to be in rebellion, all sailors were convicted of treason in absentia and orders were passed to other naval vessels that the ship should be attacked and sunk on sight. The ship's name was also struck from the naval register, with attempts being made to pressure other nations not to admit a ship of that name into their ports.
The survival of the ship, renamed 'Exulo' ('I am exiled') by its crew, was only possible through careful negotiations by the Captain to obtain safe moorings in neutral ports, the trading of supplies, and the provision of services in return for payment. The hiring out of both Exulo and crew provided a range of services from cargo carrying, VIP passenger transport, military escort of merchants and the hunting of pirates and smugglers.
Parallel to these activities, the crew continued with their originally stated mission, writing tracts seeking to inspire and promote democratic reforms in Oceana. Arrangements with friendly merchants allowed such information to be smuggled back to the Democratic Underground in Oceana. The self-effacing character of the crew and desire to protect themselves from Tiervan's retaliation meant that they rarely embellished or promoted their own story, preferring to provide words of encouragement or inspiration to others. As such, more detailed accounts of the ship's exploits tended to be passed on by the merchants who delivered their tracts. In many cases, these stories gained as much influence, if not more, than the sailors political tracts. Some of these stories were even published in The Oceana Beacon, with names changed in order to protect both readers and the original subjects. The name 'Exulo' was often changed to 'Transnavare' in these publications, the suspected origin of the term 'Exulo Transnavare'.
In spite of some apparent successes in the reforms, repeated debates held among the Exulo's crew ended with votes decisively rejecting any return to Oceana until the enlargement in freedoms had been ensured and their adversaries in the regime had been removed from office.
The Wilderness (2000-2009)Edit
The ship faced a particularly difficult time in the early 2000s, with the repression in Oceana alongside a state campaign to portray the maverick sailors as being in league with outside forces operating against the nation.
In spite of some being convinced by this state propaganda, even many of those who were not actively involved in resisting continued to risk arrest in order to follow the ship's voyages.through smuggled pamphlets.
When the Revolution began, the Exulo Captain summoned all crew members for a debate on what to do. The decision made was to return to Oceana, even if there was a risk that they could be punished for desertion regardless of which side won.
The Exulo officially returned to Portri on 10th November 2010, and were welcomed as heroes by the cheering crowds.
There are some reports that the Exulo was secretly involved in operations during the Revolution in support of the uprising against Tiervan. It is possible that more details may come to light as former crew members talk about their experiences.
As of present, the future of the ship is uncertain. It has been suggested that it may be integrated into the new Republic of Oceana Navy. Some of the original crew remain in active service, the current Captain starting off as a young Ensign on the ship in September 1988.